Petcha Kutcha

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1. whilst I sat and listened to the project brief be told to me, an image appeared within my mind; Dark, shadowed cathedrals appearing within a misty, obscured landscape. The structures appearing to vanish into the mists that surround them, enveloping them until they are no more.

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2. However, the cathedrals that I see are not like the one I have just shown, but rather abstract, darkened shapes looming over an enveloping fog. As a Child, I would dream of dark cathedrals, and i’m not sure why I did. Possibly a symbol of some deep, religious terror? Who knows, but it has resonated within me.

zdzislaw_beksinski_1983_3 Zdzisław Beksiński - 1985 (10)

3. & 4. As previously mentioned in a post, I saw these two pieces by Beksinki, and immediately was drawn to the dark and foreboding structures shown within. Much like my own perceptions of the ‘Black cathedral’, they too fade off into the mists of time, and this showcases a recurring fear within humanity of large structures within a barren landscape. Does it showcase a fear that all of our achievements will one day account for nothing? or does it showcase the deep psychological fear that a religion can create within humanities minds?

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5. As I wandered Berlin’s streets, I came to notice the looming tower within the sky, and how it seemed to fade into the amassing clouds of snow; as if it was attempting to shy away from my view, from the view of the world, into a more calm and medititive place within the clouds above myself.

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6. Another sight I saw in Berlin was the ‘Berliner Dom’, a rather large, intimidating cathedral on which the statues and ornamentation had started to succumb to oxidisation and erosion from the Elements. This gave it a rather ‘darkened’ look, and an imposing atmosphere to the whole place; which was only helped by the fact that the whole building dwarfed any other church I had seen in my lifetime. It fit perfectly, despite having no ‘dark spires’, which was a great shame.

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7. 8. & 9. Whilst in Berlin, I discovered the poignant and monumental ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’, which consists of a city block populated by a great number of uniform Stone blocks, all shifted in elevation and perceivable area slightly. The Artist, Peter Eisenman, describes it as a representation of ‘a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason’. It is an incredibly moving piece, especially when descending into the grid-like formation of the blocks. You are disorientated, and rather clautrophobic, creating a sense of impending dread and great fear of these structures surrounding you. It reminds me of the ‘Cathedral dreams’ I used to experience, but with a distinct aspect of loneliness within it, of isolation, that i’d like to explore further.

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10. I then thought back to a piece I crafted during the last project of ‘time’, and how it seemed to show a human being appearing to fade in and out of existence; much like the aspect of transcendence often remarked upon in religious texts. It’s as if he revels in this calm, in this lack of fear. The Cloud of unknowing is the greatest asset to self reflection there is.

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11. I have begun to look at the use of fog within a person’s life, and the hazy isolation one feels throughout his days on this earth. The mist is interesting, like the smog of a city it creates a barrier between humans, prompting them to become more  and more reclusive creatures as time goes on. the evolution that we speak of now seems best to create a front for ourselves for those few, short moments when we connect with another.

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12. Again, here we see the abstraction of shrouded forms within a cloud of mist. The most interesting thing about mist/fog is that in some cases of extreme depth, you cannot see your hand in front of your face, much like in the pitch black darkness of the middle of the night. If you cannot see your hand in front of your face, then how can you see one another in this sea of deceit? It’s incredibly saddening, almost depressing in the pitiful nature of it.

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13. As mentioned before, Theresa Margolle’s piece ‘Vaparacion’ is of great nspiration to me, dealing with a mist and the obscuring of form, as well as the transcendence between the physical and spiritual realms that comes within it. We also see this same aspect within another artist’s piece;

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14. ‘Blind Light’, Antony Gormley. Of course Antony Gormley is here, as he is one of my favourite artists. His work ‘Blind Light’ creates a shimmering cloud within a glass room, from the vaporisation of water, and the ensuing, shimmering mist actually rejuvenates those who walk into it; changing them from what they were before they went into the fog, much like the changes viewed in those that venture into the city and emerge sometime later, both leaving their mark on one another.

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15. & 16. Here I began to notice something very specific about humans within cities; that they are constantly surrounded by others, and yet, thy are so isolated. It’s a well established fact that we as humans can only intimately know 150 people, and those that we class as ‘best friends’ and lovers make up roughly 1/5 of this number. How strange it is, that we are in such an ironic situation as that. Again, it is rather depressing to come tot his realisation.

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17. I then visited Berlin Zoo, and although I enjoyed it, became immediately depressed when I saw the Polar Bear. He would walk forward and stop, then whilst rocking his head side to side, he would walk backwards, and repeat ad nauseum. It was incredibly saddening to me to witness such a majestic beast reduced to such insanity, witnessing the pain that one can be reduced to when isolated from one another.

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18. I then saw the Chimpanzees, and was astounded by their similarities to humans. I sat there for a long period of time just observing them eating and interacting with one another; they resembled us so closely that we could have switched places easily them viewing and us enclosed. I observed them in their enclosure, with their brethren, but only a few interacting briefly with one another. How fascinating! It’s exactly like our lives, mingling only briefly with a select few others, whilst the rest are simply shadows that we avoid.

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19. I was then reminded of a piece I saw briefly a few years ago; ‘Solitary Animal’ , by Sun Yuan. A dog Skeleton within a glass box, it is painted with a highly toxic substance that gives off gas of equal toxicity, if the glass were to break, the amount of gas built up could kill the entire audience within the gallery space, as well as some passers-by on the street. Fascinating, it is a brilliant portrayal of the dangers of a solitary animal, as they are often the most vicious out of the lot of them. There is also a brutal sadness to this piece, as if even if the animal wanted to be held and touched, it cannot, it cannot interact with us at all. This gives it the cruellest fate possible; Loneliness.

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20. I believe I am aiming to focus my project on the theme of loneliness and isolation, especially in a crowded area. Of course, this may change and develop as time goes on, but the theme of loneliness is something incredibly close to myself, and I would like to focus a project on such a thing.

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